"It never occurred to her that if the drainpipes of the house are clogged, the rain may collect in pools on the roof; and she suspected no danger until suddenly she discovered a crack in the wall."
Gustave Flaubert 1821 - 1880 "Madame Bovary" 1857 pt. ll ch.5
Although I desperately wanted to get back to my writing yesterday, I found myself instead cleaning up the clutter that has gathered this past week in my apartment. I find it difficult to concentrate when there is a lot of junk lying around. In this case it was the suitcases I keep my winter clothes in. Time to sort out the closets and chuck out the stuff I'm not using. This always creates a dilemma for me. Why do I feel inclined to hang on to those old souvenier T-shirts that I bought long ago in Greece? Or the clothes that are too small or so very old. Yet at the moment, if I throw away too many things my closets will be empty and I will be naked. I can't afford to toss everything away until I buy some new replacements. At any rate, by the time I sorted things out my room is a lot tidier and so are my drawers and closets.
Same thing somehow with my writing. Last night I took out my whole manuscript and started checking through it to see which pages and chapters my character PTOLEMY is actively participating in or at least mentioned. As he's a 'thread' thoughout the story, it's important to keep him woven into the text. Lo and behold! I discovered that though he is featured a lot in Part I and some of Part II, he is only mentioned in one place in Part III, which means I need to write in at least one scene with him actively involved in the plot. No big deal, because while thumbing through this massive piece of work, I realize there are many passages that will have to go. Just like cleaning the closet you have to go through the unnecessary scenes in a novel to tighten it up and make it sparkling and fresh. So I'm not too dismayed about writing more of Ptolemy into the story. After all, he's a major character in Alexander's life and as he begins and ends the novel (Prologue and Epilogue) he deserves a larger role in the whole picture.
At the moment I've been working on an "Epitasis" (Interlude) chapter for Part IV in which I return to Alexandria, Egypt and Ptolemy. This is why I decided to look through the manuscript to find the places where he is featured. This included a couple of scenes also set in Alexandria, so it was rather fun returning there. And I happen to be rather fond of Ptolemy as a character too, so it's nice to get reaquainted with him.
Hopefully by tomorrow, between hospital visits and writer's meetings and other things I have in my daily life, I will get back to the novel. And when I do, I'll take you there with me, on a little visit to Alexandria, as it was back in 318 BC when Ptolemy was overseeing the building of the new city, as Alexander had wanted it. See you there...soon!
"Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday
We had daily cleaning..." Henry Reed 1914 -